BMW will earn manufacturer backing in partnership with West Surrey Racing and BMW UK for the first time in 21 years, entering under the Team BMW banner in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championhip.
The German marque last participated as a manufacturer entry in the BTCC back in 1996, when Schnitzer Motorsport fielded cars for Jochaim Winkelhock, Roberto Ravaglia and Peter Kox. BMW will earn that status back once again in 2017 with front-running outfit, WSR.
Dick Bennetts’ squad will benefit from increased financial and technical support from BMW UK after running BMW machinery for 10 consecutive seasons, WSR previously a manufacturer entry with MG back in 2003.
WSR also revealled a distinctive new livery to reflect manufacturer status, one which will adorn the cars of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard alongside new recruit Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek Racing-backed car.
“The BTCC is undeniably the most significant race series in the UK with a huge and enthusiastic following,” BMW UK managing director Graeme Grieve said. “With a legendary record behind us in the Series’ history books, and partnering continuously with WSR for a decade, we are delighted to step up as a Manufacturer Team again after 21 years.
“BMW UK’s significant financial investment includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.”
Team Principal Bennetts added “I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for 10 years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It is a tribute to BMW’s product and commitment, and we are delighted to once again represent the marque as they return with increased commitment as a Manufacturer in the BTCC.”
The BMW relationship with WSR first began in 2007, both the Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships coming their way. That feat was repeated in 2008 before the overall BTCC Drivers’ title followed in 2009 with Turkington, the latter attributing towards a driver and team double crown in 2014.